By Alvin W. Graylin & Will Wang Graylin, sons
For Northwest Asian Weekly
Victor Kai Wang, 88, passed away peacefully on July 29, 2022, in Winchester, Massachusetts, surrounded by loved ones. He lived his final seven months under the care of his son and daughter-in-law after a stroke in Seattle, where he had resided for 42 years.
Victor was a renowned Chinese American artist who devoted his life to art and art education. A student of some of China’s greatest art masters, such as Guan Shanyue and Li Xiongcai, Victor trained in classical Chinese and Western art from an early age and was a voracious scholar of art, history, and philosophy. He was a professor of fine art and art history at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts for over 20 years, before immigrating to the United States, where he created new painting innovations such as the Marking Color style, and the New Song Style, by combining Chinese art techniques with Western materials.
Victor was a purist, and focused on creating art, rather than selling it. He stopped selling his art to collectors and patrons in the 1990s and stopped exhibiting altogether. He would however give his time and his art to charity and individuals he appreciated. He could be seen at volunteer activities in the Chinatown-International District, giving his time, and sometimes his art, to auctions for good causes. In April 2006, Victor donated a painting to the Seattle Chinese Garden as a gift from the Garden to President Hu Jin Tao of China. He also gave one of his finest New Song style paintings to Bill Gates and one to former Gov. Gary Locke.
Victor’s life-long pursuit was to bring more beauty and enlightenment to the world. He continued painting daily until COVID-19 and his stroke last year. He is survived by two sons and six grandchildren, his current wife, and his former wife. A select collection of Victor’s art is currently on display at the Wing Luke Museum’s “Reorient” exhibition until May 2023.
“Victor Kai Wang was a brilliantly talented, lifelong innovator who had no interest in attention or fame. His art was his spiritual journey, and his goal was to share beauty.”
– Lele Barnett, guest curator of the “Reorient” exhibition
“Victor was a soulful artist. It was my honor to share our love and passion for Chinese literature and art.”
– Pansy Fung Kai Lee, curator
“Victor was never one to promote himself, even though he was a very talented painter and calligrapher. He evolved from traditional Chinese styles to creating beautiful artworks using his computer. He was a true artist, creating art for art’s sake.”
– Stella Chien, Former Board Member, Seattle Chinese Garden